Insecurity – you can’t run, you can’t hide

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Are you insecure?

I have some good and bad news for you. The good news is that you are not alone and most people are insecure about stuff. The bad news is everybody can see your insecurities, even when you think you are pretty skilled hiding them.

There are literally thousands of manifestations of insecurity. It is so heavily demonstrated by the average human I am surprised there isn’t some giant list of things humans are insecure about… Oh wait… Facebook. Never mind.

We show our insecurities in our body language, in what we choose to say, who we pick as a partner, what we drive… all of it. You might as well be carrying a great big sign that says “I worry I am not good enough, please reassure me”.  Not everybody has it too badly, but for those who have crippling insecurity, it can wreck marriages, careers and friendships.

So if you are sitting there all grumped up because I said people can tell you are insecure, then you are the person that most needs to read this.  By the way.

If you aren’t sure what I mean, here are 5 VERY obvious signs of insecurity.

  1. Constant fiddling with your clothing, or your hair or touching your face.
  2. Feeling the need to ensure everybody hears how qualified you are on a particular topic, or how experienced.
  3. Freaking out if somebody doesn’t text you back immediately
  4. Not applying for that next job
  5. Seeking reassurance about your value and being generally high maintenance.

Recognize any of that? People notice that stuff you know.

Women are so often insecure about our bodies, or our right to speak up, we wonder if it is our place to say something controversial. We are insecure about our roles if we are working, or staying at home, we even worry about how people judge our children. Men are insecure about their dicks and sometimes about being bald or short or whatever. They often seem to compensate it all away with the simple purchase of a big truck or a fast car. So there’s that.

The worrying and negative inner dialogue that goes on in people’s brains is astounding. Can you imagine if we could hear people’s thoughts? No… let’s not. Nobody would have any friends.

And the worst is that we think everybody else is so confident! Introverts grumble into their collars at the loud talking extroverts all the while wondering how they can own a room with such ease. The talkers wonder how the introverts keep such a cool groove all the time. None of us really knows what is going on but we often feel like we are somehow not part of it.

The best news is that most people don’t feel secure, not really, so we share that inner turmoil. People still want to be friends with the cool kids, and have trouble walking into a room full of strangers. We never really leave high school, we just get mortgages.

Remember back when the best advice everybody got when nervous about speaking in public was “picture your audience naked”? That was supposed to relax you. I tried it once and when my eyes alighted on one fellow in the front row, I snorted water out of my nose, so maybe that tip isn’t always effective. But a version of it might be. What if you spent one week going about your daily business and imagine that just about everybody you encounter is uncomfortable. Make it your job to make them feel assured and comfortable. That way you won’t be tugging at your sweater, or worrying about your own state – you will be focused on something else. A side benefit will be that everybody will think you are the most awesome nice person. They will have no idea that your singular goal was to start seeming less insecure.

Telltale and behaviours can be trained out, and then the feelings follow. Being a big proponent in “fake it ’til you make it” I think social skills can be acquired through imitation and deliberate management.  You might also consider working on the source of the behaviour, the insecurity itself. Can’t shake it on your own? Go see a shrink, they rock at that stuff.

If you think your insecurities don’t show, ask somebody who won’t feed you a line of crap this question: If you could guess something that I might be insecure about, what would it be? You might be flabbergasted by the answer.

On a parting note, if you are that guy with the 2 feet of hair on one side of your head combed into a circular cover of faux youthful locks – people know you are bald man, just shave that shit and own it.

About Magnolia Ripkin

Just a mouthy old broad who has made enough mistakes to help you with yours. Advice is free, and the bar is open.

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